Hydration rules: 10 facts and myths about drinking water
We are often told to drink plenty of water – regardless of whether we are tired, if our skin is dry, or if we have come down with a flue.
Is it actually true? How much water does our body need? Does tea or coffee count as hydration? And is it safe to drink tap water?
JAMnews, together with Coca-Cola Bottlers Georgia which launched its new, eco-friendly brand of drinking water Mtis one year ago – answered 10 frequently asked questions regarding drinking water. Most importantly, all the given information is based on scientific research and relevant links are also provided.
How much water should I drink per day?
The amount of water that one’s body needs on daily basis depends on many factors – sex, age, weight, diet, fitness, climate, and so on.
The most accurate answer to this question is as much as you feel like.
It is important to listen to your body – pay attention when you are thirsty, do not be lazy (yes, some of us are), get up and drink some water.
If you still prefer numbers, here they are: according to the US Institute of Medicine, on average, men need 3.7 liters of fluid a day and women – about 2.7 liters.
However, this is not limited to water in its purest form. Generally, this includes all kinds of liquids. Many food items also contain water – watermelon, apple, meat, and even khachapuri.
The more water I drink, the better I feel?
There is no scientific evidence that drinking more water improves your health.
Nor is it a huge issue if you take slightly more fluid than needed – your body can deal with excess water through the urinary tract.
However, try to be moderate. If you drink 15 liters of water a day, this amount will be difficult for the body to cope with and may cause a life-threatening condition.
Do I need to drink water at all if I drink a lot of tea, coffee, juices, mineral water, etc.?
Yes, in this case, it is okay for you not to drink water. However, keep in mind that fruit juices, even natural ones, are not very beneficial because they contain a lot of carbohydrates, as opposed to fresh fruits.
What happens if my body loses more fluid than I consume?
You might feel thirsty, tired, or dizzy – these are the main symptoms of dehydration. Of course, we mean a minor imbalance in water consumption. Prolonged and significant dehydration (for example, during diarrhea) is a serious threat to your organism.
Should I drink a lot of water when I am sick?
Yes, you should. If you have a fever, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, it is recommended to drink more liquids because you are losing more fluid.
However, in case of severe diarrhea and vomiting, it is better not to rely only on water and drink special solutions or at least mineral water, because along with fluid, a person also loses electrolytes.
Do I need to worry if I am constantly thirsty?
Not always. There can be many reasons for this. For example, if you ate salty or spicy food, had increased physical activity or it is just very hot outside.
However, sometimes the feeling of constant thirst is alarming. For instance, it could be a symptom of diabetes.
Is it true that drinking water while having a meal is not healthy?
This is not true. On the contrary, doctors believe that water helps with better digestion, dissolves food and, as a result, the body absorbs nutrients better.
My fitness coach told me that I should not drink water while exercising. Is it true?
This is not true. Dehydration, at the very least, hinders your ability to engage in physical activity or exercise.
The American College of Sports Medicine advises people to drink water before, during, and after a workout to replenish fluid loss.
If your exercise lasts over an hour, then it is generally better to choose a sports drink that contains 6-8% carbohydrates.
Here, too, moderation is essential. Modern athletes often consume too much fluid out of fear of dehydration, leading to water intoxication. If you drink too much water, you may end up with a life-threatening condition, known as hyponatremia.
Does a large liquid intake help with hangovers?
To some extent. Unfortunately, a cure for hangover symptoms has not yet been invented. So far, the best remedy that doctors recommend is rest, light food, painkillers (not containing paracetamol), and plenty of fluids.
Which water is best – tap, boiled, filtered, or bottled?
The quality of drinking water, its properties, and composition are determined in accordance with the international standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Tap water quality may vary in different regions of Georgia. Drinking water in Tbilisi meets the quality standards, but this does not mean that drinking water from the tap in the capital is always safe.
The water coming is clean and harmless, however, on the way to our faucet, it passes through quite old pipes, which can change the composition of the water, for example, by adding rust or hazardous metals.
The easiest, but not very reliable, way to get rid of mechanical dirt in drinking water is to let the water sit for a while and then use it for drinking.
As for boiling – this process kills parasites and microbes in the water, but cannot do anything against chemical contaminants, such as heavy metals, nitrates, pesticides, chlorides, or dioxides. A glass of such water does not kill a person, but its regular use may have a negative effect on your health.
If you use tap water and especially if you have children, it is better to purchase a water filter. A water filter will most likely retain all of these impurities.
However, the safest option is still quality bottled water. Therefore, if you are not sure about the quality of tap water, it is better to avoid it.
One of the best choices on the Georgian market is the Mtis water line which was launched by Coca-Cola Bottlers Georgia a year ago. The new brand Mtis was added to Coca-Cola’s international portfolio which guarantees its high quality.